First responders, state workers to protest vaccine mandate on Saturday

Aug 20, 2021, 12:25 PM
Protesters who oppose mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates stand near the Legislative Building, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A local firefighter, Frank Dahlquist, says he’s standing up against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate from Gov. Jay Inslee. He says it could prevent him and others from doing their job and responding to calls.

Gov. Inslee uses emergency powers to mandate COVID vaccines for state workers

“I just want to be clear: I do not speak for Eastside Fire. I do not speak for my local. I’m speaking as myself, as a firefighter united in this cause against and opposing mandatory vaccinations,” he told KTTH’s Todd Herman Show.

Dahlquist also made it clear that he’s not anti-vaccine, but he is “standing firm” on this particular one. He says a group is going to gather at Snoqualmie Pass on Saturday at noon to protest the mandate.

“Everyone’s welcome. In fact, it’s not just firefighters. I’ve been reached out [to] by law enforcement, corrections, transit guilds. There are so many workers stepping up and saying, ‘Hey, this is wrong,'” Dahlquist said about the mandate.

“It’s not just me trying to do this though,” he added. “It is this large group of people standing up. I’m only one person in this fight here, and it’s going to take all of us.”

He also says that under the state’s emergency declaration and proclamation, all firefighters and EMTs in Washington are now mandated to have this vaccine.

“And in doing so, the health department has said that we can no longer have patient contact if we are not vaccinated,” he said. “So basically I cannot hold an EMT license in the state of Washington if I have a medical exemption, if I have a religious exemption, or some people don’t even fall into either one of those groups.”

“There’s that potential that I may not even be able to perform my job depending on how each agency will administer this declaration,” he continued.

He wants people to understand how this mandate could impact emergency services. And says if Inslee will not remove the proclamation, the legislature should reconvene to “rescind either emergency powers or pass the legislation that’s already on the table to protect workers rights.”

Dahlquist again clarified that he is not against the vaccine itself, and is not an anti-vaxxer, and says firefighters, EMTs, and first responders have been working safely for months with patients without a required vaccination.

“We take what’s called point of care tests in the morning that we know that we’re negative before we come to work,” he explained. “We wear all the PPE that protects me from getting sick from the patient and vice versa, the patient from me. We’ve taken all these protocols in place to work safely. And yet now my livelihood is at risk.”

CDC: How COVID-19 vaccines work

As of Aug. 20, the Washington State Department of Health reports that 71.5% of the eligible population (ages 12+) in the state had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Find a location to get vaccinated here. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 357 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed across the United States as of Aug. 16, 2021. 

Listen to the Todd Herman Show weekday mornings from 6 – 9 a.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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First responders, state workers to protest vaccine mandate on Saturday